Sunday, Aug 14, 2022
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Google To Delete Abortion Data Of Women To Protect Health Privacy In US

Following the US abortion right being struck down, Google will also delete data entries of users who visit counselling centres, fertility centres, addiction treatment facilities, weight loss clinics and plastic surgery clinics.

US abortion rights.
US abortion rights. Getty Images

Google has announced that it will delete abortion data along with the location details of a woman following the Roe vs Jad overruling case. The statement comes amid concern that a digital trail could inform law enforcement if an individual terminates a pregnancy illegally.

On June 24, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that had provided a constitutional right to abortion. The ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states, although the timing of those laws taking effect varies.

In a blogpost, Jen Fitzpatrick, a senior vice president at Google wrote that the update will come into effect in the coming weeks. 

Google will also delete data entries of users who visit counselling centres, fertility centres, addiction treatment facilities, weight loss clinics and plastic surgery clinics, Fitzpatrick wrote. Tracking location history is off by default, and it can be deleted at any time, she added.

In one of its recent reports, the New York-based privacy group Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.) noted that anti-abortion activists are already surveilling pregnant people to intimidate them from exercising their legal reproductive rights. With the overruling of the judgment, a spike in the digital surveillance of pregnant women is expected.

Following the ban, the technology industry has fretted police could obtain warrants for customers’ search history, geolocation and other information revealing pregnancy plans. 

Health organisations and activists on social media have warned users to be careful with their data on their periods tracking app. 


 

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